Could the leafs swing a deal for Staal?

On XM radio last night Bill Watters claimed that Jim Rutherford and Brian Burke had a deal in place involving Eric Staal that was on hold because of Brian Burke’s roster freeze. Bill Watters went on to claim that the deal would be completed after the roster freeze was lifted.

This is nonsensical for about twelve reasons, but most notably if Brian Burke has a roster freeze for the holidays he isn’t talking about trading players. No NHL GM is going to agree to a trade and then keep playing the guys he moved for weeks; it’s poor risk management. If Eric Staal gets hurt, despite it being a short term effect on the deal, the trade is likely off.

Bob McKenzie did what an actual media member with access should do and went to the source. He asked Jim Rutherford about a potential Eric Staal trade:

120 Responses to Could the leafs swing a deal for Staal?

  1. Boston_Bruins says:

    About a third of the way through the season now, and things are starting to shape up. Here's how I rank the teams. I'm working some of the rankings based on reputation, not just on how well teams have played this season.


    1. Boston Bruins – They're just firing on all cylinders now. Everyone is contributing.
    2. Detroit Red Wings – With Datsyuk picking it up, the Wings are as well. Howard has been Vezina-calibre all season long. The road record is a bit of a concern though.
    3. Vancouver Canucks – The hangover's over. The top three teams in my rankings are really separating themselves from the bunch in the key stat of goal differential.
    4. Pittsburgh Penguins – They just keep battling through adversity. They've proven that they can do more than just get by without Crosby, and his impending return is always lingering there to push them over the top.
    5. Chicago Blackhawks – They're an offensive powerhouse, there's no questioning that. They have starpower as well as depth. however, the goaltending is not up to par to make them higher on this list.
    6. New York Rangers – Have sort of flew under the radar this year, but they are playing very well as a team. It isn't just Lundqvist anymore.
    7. St. Louis Blues – Absolutely love this team. They play an aggressive style and suffocate other teams with 5-on-5 play. Only real question mark is if Elliot can maintain his play.
    8. Philadelphia Flyers – They would be much higher without the slew of injuries. I'm not as confident in their ability to get the job done without top players as I am with the Penguins. Also, did $50 million still not solve the goaltending problem???
    9. San Jose Sharks – They've been massively underacheiving and they're still fairly comfortably gliding by. There's too much talent in this line-up to not do some damage in the first couple of rounds of the Playoffs.
    Fringe Teams:
    10. Minnesota Wild – I'm sorry, I just don't buy it. They're 11-3-4 in 1 goal games. To their credit, they're getting the job done, but I seriously doubt they keep this up.
    11. Florida Panthers – The other surprise team this year alongside Minnesota, their mish-mash of players seem to be clicking. I think they'll come back to earth a bit when their top line comes back down to earth, but they look like they're Playoff-bound.
    12. Washington Capitals – By far the biggest underacheivers this year, but they simply cannot be counted out. There's nothing inflating their stats making them look worse; they've just been plain bad. But this is a team that could turn it around in the wink of an eye.
    13. Nashville Predators – They're doing exactly what they are expected to do. Glide by with an under-the-radar, solid performance.
    14. Phoenix Coyotes – They seem to be the new Nashville. Their system allows them to stay competitive, and the addition of Rundblad just makes their blueline that much more mobile.
    Bubble Teams:
    15. Buffalo Sabres – Another under-performing team. They show flashes, but they simply need much better goaltending performances to stay competitive.
    16. Los Angeles Kings – They've been bad. Really bad. They get the Washington placement though. There's too much talent here.
    17. Toronto Maple Leafs – Same story as the Sabres. Reimer's return hasn't provided them with the spark that they needed. Top-shelf offense though.
    18. Montreal Canadiens – They're probably the most underrated team due to their abysmal shootout record. A new coach should give them a spark.
    19. Dallas Stars – Meh. I am expecting them to fall even further back down to earth. Besides an insane run by Lehtonen at the start of the season, this team is mediocre.
    20. Edmonton Oilers – They have just played very well. The kids are impressing and they now seem to have two capable goalies to turn to.
    21. New Jersey Devils – MASSIVE inflation with shootout wins. They have as many ROW wins as the bottom teams in the league. That said, they haven't exactly been playing poorly. Parise's back.
    Below Average:
    22. Winnipeg Jets – They have been a pleasant surprise. Their barn seems to be one of the toughest to play in thanks to the fans.
    23. Calgary Flames – Just a very mediocre team. They're playing at their expectations at least though.
    24. Ottawa Senators – Another pleasant surprise… offensively at least. This team is a defensive nightmare, which severely affects their ranking.
    25. Tampa Bay Lightning – This team doesn't get the Washington or Los Angeles treatment. I never believed they were a legitimate good team, even when they were in the Conference Finals last year. The goaltending has been awful and their depth players aren't stepping up.
    26. Colorado Avalanche – I could have dropped them a bit because of shootouts inflating their numbers, but the bottom 4 is just too bad. Keep rebuilding.
    Bottom Feeders:
    27. Anaheim Ducks – Ouch. This one is tough to fathom. I could see a 2006/07 Flyers situation with a really quick turn around, even if injuries haven't been that much of an issue for the Ducks.
    28. Columbus Blue Jackets – I'm surprised they've climbed up this far. They at least haven't been laughably bad in the last little bit anyways.
    29. Carolina Hurricanes – Slumping franchise player, goalie having an off-year, ravaged with injuries. Definitely one to forget for the Canes.
    30. New York Islanders – I know points percentage-wise they're the best of the bottom 4, but this team just plays uninspired hockey, and they admittedly get this position based on reputation. Yet another top 5 pick.
  2. TheLeafNation91 says:

    I think New Jersey and Montreal should be ahead of Toronto IMO.

    With Zajac returning and more depth at center on the Devils, I believe the Devils will improve now to the end of the season. Zajac has been a huge part of that team and theirs no doubt they have missed him.

    Also, I expect a surge from Tampa Bay…Their looking better.

  3. senators_choke says:

    I think you nailed most of them BB.

    I agree with you on Minny. They are achieving way over their heads, mostly from phenomenal goaltending by Backstrom (and even backup Harding). Not as good as their record.

    But for Florida, I have a feeling they're the real thing. I'm getting to get a close look on Dec 27th because I'm going to be in Miami when the Leafs are there.

    Also glad you put Dallas in the bubble teams. Another team not as good as their record.

    The interesting thing about Columbus is that they actually play really well most nights. They just simply can't put the puck in the net. Same with Phoenix.

  4. Boston_Bruins says:

    It's fun to watch the Blues play. They're basically a clone of Boston but a bit worse in every area. Seriously, the similarities are eerie:

    – Philosophy: tough, aggressive, responsible defensively, out-work you along hte boards, bread-and-butter is 5-on-5 
    – Goaltending duo
    – Big, mobile, unnassuming defense. Only difference is they don't have anywhere near a comparable to Chara, althoug Pietrangelo and Shattenkirk are great.
    – Basically every forward is defensively reliable
    – Big, physical wingers capable of putting the puck in the net: Lucic, Horton vs. Backes, Stewart, Oshie
    – Talented, enigmatic centermen: Krejci vs. Backlund
    – Offensively gifted wingers able to prosper due to the physical nature of their team: Seguin vs. Perron
    – Top defensive center with offensive upside: Bergeron vs. Steen
    I think the Bruins have the decided advantage in the bottom six though, and I don't see a comparable to Marchand. But when comparing above, I'd say the Bruins have the edge in every category except the big physical wingers, which is close. Still, that's a very similar set-up.
  5. senators_choke says:

    I don't expect any surge from Tampa. They suck this year. Stamkos is the only guy keeping them respectable.

  6. Boston_Bruins says:

    Those three are fairly comparable in my opinion, esecially the Leafs and Habs, but the Devils shootout record can't be ignored. It's inflated their stats so much.

    I'm just not seeing it with Tampa. Very overrated last year.
  7. Boston_Bruins says:

    I've admittedly only seen Columbus play once against the B's but they actually looked pretty good then. And I kind of get that sense about them, at least lately. it was an absolute nightmare at the start.

    I do think Florida are for real as well. Not division leading-good, but they'll be in the playoff mix.
    And for Minny, that is basically my reasoning as well. They should still be in the Playoffs though. Dallas, no. I think they fall way down.
  8. TmLeafan says:

    Its not like I dont notice players breaking up plays or being good down low I do notice that just not from Armstrong.  We are clearly going round in circles here you think he is a great defensive player and good in the corners and I do not. Whatever its all good everyone rates players differently you are entitled to think that about Armstrong. 

    I have explained how I think that having someone (not necessarily Kadri) play with Connoly is a good idea, I think it makes them a more effective line, obviously that is my opinion and have no way of proving that but we are in a slide right now only the Bozak-Kessel- Lupul line is working at the moment so I am suggesting trying something different, giving us a new look.  
    And I agree the penalty kill could hypothetically get worse but my point was that it clearly is abysmal right now I don't see it getting worse and it could be better by giving someone else a chance in that role (maybe Frattin he definitely has the speed, decent hockey smarts)
  9. TmLeafan says:

    Or you could try this for 2nd and 3rd lines:

    If you are real concerned about Kadri defensively you could you have Kulemin and Connoly who are both pretty good in their own end.  Grabo has looked good with Frattin at times this year and has chemistry with Macarthur, its unfortunate to break up Grabo and Kule but they haven't exactly been lighting it up this year together.  
    Doesnt have to be Kadri we could bring up Colbourne again he played well during his first stint in my opinion. 
  10. JoelLeafs says:

    Well, all players could get a concussion at some point. Guess they should just close down the NHL, eh?

  11. JoelLeafs says:



  12. mojo19 says:

    People get concussions so easily these days because of the radio waves that travel through our brains due to cell phone use and wifi waves kicking around. #Conspiracy

    And on a side note, Leafy, if you keep becoming more and more of a negative old crack pot were gonna have to put you in a home soon. j/k

  13. TheOnlyIslesFan says:

    In away I agree with Josh – the concussion issue has been around in the NHL forever just that in the past guys played through it – but the concussion topic is a sexy one because the League appointed face of Hockey sat out a year with a concussion, came back through his elbow into Nick Foligno's head – then was shelfed again, this is a big problem especially when you're trying to expand your game to a worldwide audience and the guy you say is the best player on skates has played less than 15 games in a Calendar year.

    I remember when Slew footing was the huge problem in the league – I'd trade all the headshots for the slewfooting and neutral zone trap crap of the 90's any day.

  14. reinjosh says:

    Good points. A couple comments.

    Does anyone have a Chara comparable? 😛 Maybe the Sabres. Now if a team would sign me…lol.
    Your thinking Berglund, not backlund but yes enigmatic is a good way to describe him. 
    THe blues are a young team but they do compare well. Interesting points, I had never compared them before. They need a big physical left handed dman still, they have a highly talented puck mover (something the Bruins still lack, at least until Hamilton comes), but the rest is pretty much a close match. 
  15. reinjosh says:

    I'd push Pittsburgh into the elite teams honestly. Even without Crosby. They have such a great makeup that they keep winning and keep on top. Other three were bang on though. Boston is definitely on top. Scary how good they are and still how the core is young.

    Buffalo is overrated in my opinion. They have some nice pieces but its an overall meh design of the team. Vanek is good but he's way to mercurial to be a piece to be built around. Roy and Pominville are just on and off. Stafford is a once in a few years thirty goal scorer. They have some nice pieces but nothing that will ever get them that far in the playoffs. Adam, Kassian and Myers could be a nice new youth push though but those new contracts are going to hurt them soon. Plus Miller just isn't the top 5 goalie everyone thinks he is. Depending on him as one is going to continue to hurt this team.
    Montreal – I think they are high to be honest. The roster is aging and to much is tied up in useless pieces. They desperately need a retool with players pushed out. Cammy, Gionta, Gomez just aren't dependable players. Kaberle has been good and he's pushing Subban but their are just to many pieces that are bringing the rest down. Demote Gomez, trade Gionta/Cammy and move forward with Price, Subban, Pleks, Eller, Pacioretty, AK. They have some nice young pieces. 
    Devils – Agreed. They are decent just not great. Brodeur is getting old and that defense is bad. 
    Leafs – Their offense has been the brightest point for us. Goaltending hasn't been horrendous compared to other years but it hasn't been what we hoped for. To much hope was placed on potential of young players. Still as the second youngest team in the league, things could be worse. Core pieces are working theirselves into place and the shape of a competitive team is taking place. It's been slow but things are improving at least. 
    Ottawa – If they could get Lehner playing well and some defensive improvements, they might be the Oilers 2.0 next year. 
    Great points on all the teams. 
  16. Leafs420 says:

    well you can tell this is coming from a bias bruins fan. just cause Toronto is on a little slump doesn't mean they deserve to be a bubble team and to the guy who said Montreal deserves to be above Toronto is a joke lol Montreal has been shitting the bed all season and is on an even worse slump then Toronto as we speak.

    Next time you decide to do a shitty comparison makes sure you split it up for east and west

  17. Boston_Bruins says:

    Lol give me a break. Where would you put the Bruins? Going 19-2-1 in their last 22 is a pretty objective way to look at the fact that they've been a top team. They've only lost one game all year by more than one goal (or two with an empty netter) for god's sake.

    The Leafs are in the mix and are my 8th ranked team, which is where they are in the standings anyways. I love their offense but I think they have questions defensively.
    And maybe, I dunno, break up the East and West teams yourself? It's not that hard to break up.
  18. Boston_Bruins says:

    Yeah I wouldn't be against moving the Pens up really. They have proved they can do more than just get by without Crosby. Malkin's re-emergence doesn't hurt either.

    Scary thing about the Leafs offense is that alot of it is relying on that top line. Players like Grabovski and Kulemin are bound to break out more eventually and when that happens that's a top flight offense. Definitely like their outlook for the future with that young of a squad.
  19. Boston_Bruins says:

    Yeah, the Pietrangelo/Shattenkirk combo vs. Chara is the biggest difference. Funny thing is though that Hamilton has been compared to Pietrangelo in terms of style of play.

    And Berglund, that's right, thanks. I don't know much about him but I always hear everyone describe him as that. I heard he has an absolute howitzer of a shot though.
    I'm actually headed down to Detroit to see them play the Wings in aabout a week. Should be a good one.

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